We talk about it every year...How we want to "Remember the real reason for the season", and how we want to "Keep Christ in Christmas".
Yet, I don't know about you, but I can honestly say that, for me, it's still a challenge.
It almost seems like everything in our culture conspires against that very thing. Our festivities, our expectations, our 'obligations'.
Yesterday, I was able to go shopping with my favorite person of all (my lovely wife), and then to go out shopping with our kids last night. While we got lots done, I can't honestly say we kept 'the Christmas spirit' while doing so.
I know I'm not alone in this.
Many of us struggle in this way.
Maybe it's unreasonable expectations...
I remember the "Norman Rockwell" book my dad had when I was growing up...it always seemed like the people in the pictures were either having fun, being silly, or laughing. Some of the 'serious' pictures were serene, beautiful, peaceful.
Yeah..that sometimes doesn't jibe with my reality.
Don't get me wrong--we have genuinely good times, we enjoy each other, and have good memories--but my point is that, even in a family who makes it a point of emphasis to "Keep the real meaning of Christmas", it's easy to lose it...it's easy for the values, pressures, and cares of this world to push their way in and for the love, peace, grace, and beauty of Jesus coming into this world gets pushed out.
Even if for a brief time.
So, what are we to do about it?
Keep re-focusing. Keep being gracious...keep forgiving...keep loving.
Ask God to forgive you for missing it, forgive each other for losing it, and center yourself again around the reality of Jesus.
Maybe it means less emphasis (again) on gifts and traditions, more emphasis on worship, prayer, and the Word of God. Not entirely surprising, not really anything 'new'...but important to keep in mind, anyway.